Honorary members were paid tribute Friday for their contribution to the school and community in a week celebrating current Dixie State University students and staff.
DSU faculty members, students and members of the public gathered in the Gardner Student Center Ballroom for DSU’s Alumni Banquet and eighteenth annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Alice Evans Allred, Donna Stafford and Marion J. Bentley were honored recipients of DSU’s Distinguished Alumni Awards, while Don L. Ipson and Hyrum W. Smith were inducted into the DSU Hall of Fame for their contributions to the school.
Due to the St. George Tabernacle being closed, these two events had merged to form the celebration that took place Friday night.
President Biff Williams began the ceremony with a few words directed toward the homecoming spirit. He said his favorite tradition from homecoming week was when he wakes up Monday morning and can see the red “D” on the hill. Williams said the “D” symbolizes all the stories of previous alumni, and how those honorees are a part of the foundation for which DSU stands.
“Homecoming [is] about connecting to the past,” development officer John Bowler said. “[It’s also about] building [the] framework for those in the future.”
For the three honored in the event, each contributed to the university in their own special way.
Allred, though deceased, was given the Distinguished Service Award. Allred was recognized because of the scholarship funds she created. Allred’s granddaughter, the one who accepted the award in proxy, said Allred loved DSU and “was so excited to receive the award.”
Stafford, a former alumna and faculty member of DSU, graciously accepted her Distinguished Alumni Award for her nearly 20 years of service to the students of DSU. Bentley received the Distinguished Faculty Award for his influence on theater students.
Williams said Hyrum and Gail Smith’s generosity and support made it possible for the institution to purchase the buildings constructed on campus as part of the original Dixie Convention Center.
“As a representative, Don (Ipson) was instrumental in convincing education and legislative leaders that Dixie was ready for university status,” Williams said in recognition of the two newest members of the Hall of Fame.
Bowler said DSU’s Hall of Fame members are individuals that “give of their substance” to help build and grow the university. He said these members consist of more than just athletes, but members from various fields and backgrounds that have contributed to DSU.
The criteria used for the selection of inductees into the Hall of Fame consists of five points:
-Must have been distinguished in his/her field of study or profession
-Must be an alumnus, faculty, staff or have been previously honored by DSU
-Candidate’s life must have had a state, national or international impact
-Must have made a significant gift—money or service—to education at DSU
-Must have proven him/her self over time
The audience heard from guest speaker Dennis Holland, a former alumnus of DSU. He began his speech with humorous stories from his past about his brother, Jeffrey R. Holland, and himself. He also talked of the rich heritage St. George and how the community was formed and shaped by amazing people.
Shayne Young, a junior psychology major from St. George has, said she enjoyed the event, because it was “fun to see the older generations [of DSU alumni]” and see how homecoming can tie generations together.
Kayla Norman, a sophomore health science major from St. George, said the alumni members she had spoken to got emotional while talking about DSU.
The event concluded as Trailblazers, Red Storm and Rebel students filled the ballroom with the DSU school song.